From the Director’s Desk- 1/2018

January 9, 2018

From the Director’s Desk – January 2018

Happy New Year, WiCC Supporters! Hopefully everyone enjoyed the holiday season and that you got a chance to rest, relax, and reflect.  Now it’s back to work on partnering with communities to address critical issues! And it’s back to being engaged in the WiCC Network! Make sure you’re nominating a student for the Newman Civic Fellowship, nominate your campus/faculty/students for a WiCC award, put into to present at the Civic Engagement Institute, register for the CEI (a keynote presentation about Design Thinking & Community-Based Learning), and host me on campus for a presentation!

Aside from a few personal resolutions I have (e.g. eat more fish and seafood, exercise more regularly, and mindful eating), there are several resolutions I’m making for the Wisconsin Campus Compact network.

First, we will start publicly telling the story how WiCC members help solve issues across the state! We will launch an interactive map in spring that showcases over 1700 community-engaged projects in all corners of the state.  We are also putting together one-pagers that highlight innovative university/community partnership projects by critical issue areas (e.g. clean water, workforce development, college access).  We hope to create consistent templates that show a unified front when we have discussions with external stakeholders about the work we do.

Second, I will explore how to best convene issue-specific gatherings over the spring semester.  One idea is to gather in regions and bring together institutions doing projects in similar areas (e.g. STEM education, dental or mental health).  The idea would be to invite local stakeholders who are working in these spaces and discuss how higher education could be more coordinated in its approach to addressing that issue.  The idea is this: How can we organize for collective impact?

Third, I resolve to continue to connect our network to other groups with similar interests.  For example, I have been in communication with the State of Wisconsin to examine the connection between internships and community-based learning.  Where are there overlaps? How can we support each other’s work? If you have suggestions of other networks in which we could become involved, please e-mail me for suggestions (gavin {at} compact(.)org).

Fourth, I want to enhance communication between the WiCC office and members.  That might be a variety of things.  For example, there are some projects that may only be of interest to certain faculty and staff depending on the project (e.g. a statewide early childhood education effort may be more relevant to early childhood faculty and K-12 outreach staff).  I’d like to directly communicate with those faculty and staff.  As another example, I rely so much on e-mails to communicate with people.  However, I could be creating videos or having regular phone calls with people on campus to hear more about what people are thinking.  I want to make the WiCC office accessible and communicative!

Thank you for everyone’s belief in the work WiCC is doing! Here’s to a great 2018!